Post-tsunami 'giving fatigue' fears allayed

Georgina Lock

Anxieties about 'giving fatigue' following the Asian tsunami have proved unfounded, according to some fundraising companies.

Dialogue Direct fundraising, Face to Face Fundraising and Fundraising Initiatives have all reported that the projected downturn in donations from street and door-to-door fundraising to non-aid charities has not materialised.

Jo Noble, head of group communications at Fundraising Initiatives, said: "If our experience is anything to go by, the disaster has made the public more aware of the need to help others and of charity in general."

Owen Watkins, managing director of Dialogue Direct, which specialises in street fundraising, agreed. "Perhaps the tragic events of the tsunami have focused people's minds, but we're seeing a consistent improvement in all areas of the organisation this year," he said.

NCH, which works to support vulnerable children throughout the UK, has been working with Dialogue Direct for its street fundraising, and also reports a good year so far. NCH relationship marketing manager Kathy McKay said: "Face-to-face fundraising has worked really well and we haven't seen any negative impact from the tsunami."

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has clear figures only for January, which show that total donations to charities were about the same as last year.

But its figures also show that donations to aid charities were up that month, which would suggest that donations to non-aid charities were down.

Nik Earl, communications manager at the PFRA, said: "There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, including the fact that non-aid charities may have decided not to fundraise following the tsunami."

The comments from the fundraising companies support the survey, conducted by the Institute of Fundraising in February, showing that 84 per cent of charities think the tsunami appeal could have a positive impact on their organisations over the long term.

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